1. What can you do that doesn't involve sewing?
You may have a new quilting book you want to read or need to crack some of those magazines you bought and still haven't opened. You could catch up on some blogs while you travel. Think about the quilting-related things you want to do that don't require fabric!
2. Identify your goals.
Is a deadline looming? Do you have to sew on this trip, or do you just want a project to keep your hands busy if you have downtime?
If you MUST sew on a trip, tell your fellow travelers. They'll appreciate you letting them know you have to sew after dinner and can't join them for drinks.
You can't sew as efficiently anywhere else as you do in your own sewing space with all of your tools and your entire stash handy. Quilting on the go is not going be like quilting at home. Even at a retreat, half the fun is socializing with other folks. Often, taking a trip means going to see someone or spend quality time with your trip mates, so realize you may never end up touching the project you brought along.
Don't travel with your sewing machine unless you have to. It's heavy. It's inconvenient to disassemble and set up somewhere else. Plus, every time you move your sewing machine around, you risk a clumsy accident that could result in having to get it serviced.
Good portable projects involve hand sewing like English paper piecing, hand quilting minis, hand sewing binding to the back of a quilt, and hand embroidering labels.
Don't travel with yardage thinking you're going to do a bunch of cutting on your biggest cutting mat with a 24" ruler. I do better if I make fabric choices and cut fabric ahead of time. When working on rose star blocks, I can pin a paper shape to fabric at home, cut the fabric, and save the basting and whip stitching for the trip.
7. Have the right tools.
When you do want to take off for a sewing retreat with your machine, make a checklist ahead of time and be sure to check it twice. It would be terrible to show up at a retreat without your sewing machine pedal!
Do you travel and sew? I'd love to hear about the lessons you've learned - from tips or personal experience!